Dr. Marsha Chappelow, superintendent of the answers questions for Patch.com from time to time. This time, she is kicking off her 40th year in education with the start of the school year.
Ladue-Frontenac Patch Editor James Baer caught up with Dr. Chappelow for this interview:
Patch: How would you characterize the start of another school year
Dr. Marsha Chappelow: I would characterize it this way: It is the start of a new year and a new opportunity and a renewal for students and staff. Everyone gets a break and that is great. Everyone comes backs refreshed and ready to go.
For this year, it is especially great because of the passage of Prop 1. Last year there was a little uncertainty with the start of the school year if we were going to go forward with the tax levy or not.
This year is special because all of that is behind us now.
Patch: Dr. Chris Schreiner, principal at Reed Elementary School likes to correct me and says it is a continuation of where the teachers and students left off, referring to his view of the start of a new school year.
Chappelow: I agree with that, but the break helps. I think parents take summer learning a lot more seriously than I did when I was a student.
Patch: Philosophically, would you have any problems with a 10-12 month school year.
Chappelow: I don’t know educationally but I would have a problem with it because once districts do that, there is a conflict with college where teachers need to get in their hours for additional credits. And there would be issues with day care and other things.
Actually, it is something to look at because for students, learning continues all year long. But you get different types of breaks. I’ve talked to superintendents of other districts who do that and they say after families get on that kind of schedule, they begin to like it. They can take vacations during the winter and other times. They are not limited just to summer time.
Patch: Ladue has new leadership in place throughout the district.
Chappelow: Yes, Kim Stallons is the new principal at . Dr. Stallons came from Bayless and because she is an experienced principal that is always good. There is always a learning curve and Kim will be great in that position.
Dr. Vicki VanLeare is the principal at Ladue Middle School. She comes to us from Mehlville and she’s been a principal in two other districts. She has a lot of experience and we have a really strong leader. The prior principal (Dr. Cathy Richter) was highly thought of and built a really strong program there.
It is one of the largest middle schools in the state but it is interesting to me that when you go there, it doesn’t feel that large. Brad Griffith is also coming to the high school as an assistant principal and is bring to us his curriculum skills from Georgetown Prep School, but he’s actually from St. Louis. He graduated from Kirkwood High School.
And Pablo Flinn is here and he’s a parent in the district and has worked on several of our committees. He will working in education services and student services.
Tomorrow, Dr. Chappelow about the dollar squeeze by the state; portable lights for football, etc.